A Gloomy Water Future

The NAS Colorado River report was released this morning:

Recent studies of past climate and streamflow conditions have broadened understanding of long-term water availability in the Colorado River, revealing many periods when streamflow was lower than at any time in the past 100 years of recorded flows. That information, along with two important trends—a rapid increase in urban populations in the West and significant climate warming in the region—will require that water managers prepare for possible reductions in water supplies that cannot be fully averted through traditional means. Successful adjustments to these new conditions will entail strong and sustained cooperation among the many entities involved in Colorado River water management and science programs.


  1. Coincidentally, California’s water supply also looks certain to change dramatically, whether by design or by disaster, in the short term future.


    “The San Francisco-based Public Policy Institute of California …. economist Ellen Hanak and a team of experts from the University of California, Davis, released a remarkable analysis of an old and worsening problem, the state of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.(The PPIC report is available on line via http://www.ppic.org.)

    “… Contra Costa County and Delta farming interests reject the premise that today’s system can’t be fixed in a way to protect their interests. If only the Earth were flat, or not warming.

    “Beware of anything feeling like a timid tinkering with a troubled system. The Delta’s problems demand state leaders to go way beyond the comfort zone. At this point, everything uncomfortable should be on the table. PPIC and UC Davis, to their great credit, may have just shaken the water world to its senses.”

  2. Go Aggies!

    This issue has been festering for a long time. Huge – yooge – pumps send water to the Southland, levees result in Delta soils no longer being replenished, the Developer Club thinks cookie-cutter subdivisions on subsiding peat are a good idea (look at Natomas for further instruction on the power of developers in Sac), urban and ag goop are increasing while instream flows are decreasing…sigh.



  3. As I wrote in my own posting on this today, nothing in the NRC report sounded terribly new. We knew that droughts much worse than what we’ve experienced in the last 100 years have occurred in the past, we knew that the river is over-appropriated, and we basically knew that global warming could make drought even worse. But there is something to having the research rounded up in one spot by the NRC.

    The report got some media attention, including a prominent report on NPR’s All Things Considered. With one little problem: The reporter, Elizabeth Shogren, said Lake Mead helps supply water to Colorado. Hmmm. I wonder where those pipes are, and how they can afford to pump water all that distance and elevation…

    — Tom

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  5. Hi,

    feeling good by knowing that we are discussing the future of water. because in near time …we have a problem of water which we can see generally in USA. So we need to chalked out a plan to save the water for future reference.

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